“Loyalist Trails” 2015-20: May 17, 2015

In this issue:
2015 Conference Loyalists Come West: Gonzales for Displays and Sales
Adolphustown: May 23rd, 24th
The Esther‘s Evacuees, Part One: Tragedy Averted, by Stephen Davidson
Loyalist Re-enactment in Royal Highland Emigrants by Brian McConnell
Book Review: James Rogers’ 2nd Battalion, King’s Rangers
The Ship Camel: A Third Voyage, by Ed Garrett
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Adopted Children and Loyalists
      + James Flewelling and Family


2015 Conference Loyalists Come West: Gonzales for Displays and Sales

Read the details for Loyalists Come West – the 2015 UELAC Conference in Victoria BC May 28-30, 2015.

Bring your loonies and toonies; visit the Gonzales Room on the lower lobby level to check out the free displays and shop at the sales tables, even buy a raffle ticket or ten. Read more to see which branches and others are displaying; learn more about the history of the loonie and toonie – there are probably a couple of facts there that you don’t know already!

2015 Conference Planning Committee Victoria BC

Adolphustown: May 23rd, 24th

The Time has come, the Walrus Said… Actually, we are just a week away from the events taking place at Adolphustown ON and sponsored by the Bay of Quinte Branch.

The grounds are open 10:00-4:00 each day. The focus on the Saturday is a remembrance of the stationing of the Glengarry Lt. Infantry at Adolphustown late in the War of 1812. There will be drills, and tactical re-enactments as well as the wedding of James Fitzgibbon which took place there in 1814. Vendors and heritage groups will be on site.

Sunday features an Inter-Denominational Service at 11:00 in the morning. The focus on Sunday shifts to the settlement of the Loyalists with a Loyalist landing at 1:00 followed by the Re-Dedication of the UEL Monument (see photo) at 2:00. The Monument is the oldest of its kind in Canada and it dates to 1884. It was refurbished in 2014 thanks to many generous donations. A plaque will also be unveiled during the ceremony. There is a modest charge Saturday, and free entry on Sunday.

Hope to see you there.

…Peter W. Johnson, UE, President, Bay of Quinte Branch

The Esther‘s Evacuees, Part One: Tragedy Averted, by Stephen Davidson

Although forgotten, it was the deciding moment in the lives of two hundred people and their thousands of descendants. A loyalist evacuation ship, the Esther, was almost shipwrecked on its way to the mouth of the St. John River in September of 1783. Had it been wrecked on the dangerous shoals off of Nova Scotia, the ripple effects of the Esther‘s destruction would have reshaped the history of both Upper Canada and New Brunswick.

The New Jersey Volunteers would have lost the 127 men in its 3rd Battalion. Egerton Ryerson would never have founded Upper Canada’s public school system. In Ontario, Norfolk County would not know the descendants of Hugh Alexander nor would Prince Edward County have any of the descendants of Peter Wannamaker. Communities all along the lower part of New Brunswick’s St. John River would have lost their founding settlers. Two of the most significant memoirs of the loyalist experience would never have been recorded.

This is the first article in a four-part series that will examine how the loyalist evacuees aboard the Esther escaped a tragic end, how they fared in New Brunswick, and how some of them found their way to Upper Canada in the 1790s. It all began in the third week of September 1783 in New York City during the final days of British occupation.

Under the watchful eye of the British commander-in-chief, Sir Guy Carleton, fleets of ships filled with loyalist refugees and soldiers were leaving New York City to find sanctuary in Nova Scotia, Great Britain, the West Indies, and Quebec. The earliest of these fleets arrived at the mouth of the St. John River in May, followed by others in June, July and August.

By September, it was becoming harder to find evacuation vessels, and Carleton was often forced to use less than seaworthy ships. Some vessels made as many as three round trips between New York and Nova Scotia in 1783. Time was at a premium; the patriots who were anxious to take back New York were breathing down Carleton’s neck; it was also hurricane season for the entire eastern seaboard. No matter what the season, the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy and its dense fogs were always ready to overwhelm any ship’s captain unfamiliar with Nova Scotia’s rocky coast.

By the third week of September, just over a dozen vessels under the protection of a Royal Naval frigate left New York City, bound for the mouth of the St. John River. Among the three thousand loyalists who were seeking sanctuary were members of the 3rd Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers, the Regiment of the Maryland Loyalists and Ludlow’s New York Regiment. They planned to settle near the site of modern-day Fredericton before the winter’s snow began to fall.

The men in these loyalist regiments had fought in some of the major battles of the American Revolution, defending Staten Island, New Jersey’s Egg Harbour, Savannah, and Fort Ninety-Six. They were at the Battle of Eutaw Springs; others defended the Pensacola Garrison in West Florida. They had survived an outbreak of smallpox and the wrath of their patriot neighbours.

Lt. Col. Richard Hewlett was overseeing the settlement of nearly 4,000 men, women, children and slaves. The lieutenant colonel, his wife and their ten children had stowed all of their worldly goods into the Martha‘s cargo holds. Fortunately, Hewlett and his family chose to sail up the coast on either the Sovereign, the Britain, the Two Sisters, the Apollo, the William, the Montague, the King George, the Elizabeth, the Palliser, the Ann, the Mars or the Duke of Richmond. Of one thing we can be certain, the Hewlett family was not aboard the Esther.

The historian Polly Hoppin has determined that forty loyalist vessels shipwrecked during their evacuation from the United States. The September fleet under Lt. Col. Hewlett’s command was heading for one of the most dangerous regions of the north Atlantic. Seal Island, the southernmost point of land in Nova Scotia, was at the end of a series of shoals and islands stretching twenty miles out from the colony’s coast. The rip tides and currents of the Bay of Fundy hurled ships onto these submerged rocks — shoals that were often hidden in the think Fundy fogs.

In a letter written to Sir Guy Carleton on September 29th, Richard Hewlett reported that all of his troops had arrived at their destination except for the Esther and the Martha, stating that “no certain accounts have been received since their sailing” in New York.

Anxious to be taken to their new homes before it got much colder, the loyalist passengers unloaded their goods and made camp above the Reversing Falls. While some set up tents as temporary shelters, others looked into hiring small craft to take them up the St. John River to St. Ann’s (the future Fredericton). No doubt a few refugees were muttering under their breath about how the tardiness of the Martha and the Esther was inconveniencing everyone else.

The impatient loyalists had no way of knowing the tragedy behind the Martha‘s delay. The evacuation ship had run onto the shoals near Seal Island, and within a matter of hours, powerful waves had broken the vessel into a thousand pieces. All ten of the slaves aboard had drowned. 72% of the children died as well as 71% of the women. Of the 181 passengers, only 57 men, 6 women, and 5 children had survived the shipwreck.

Unaware of the Martha‘s fate, Captain Robert Gill of the Esther was lost and worried. Although he had taken loyalist refugees to Port Roseway on the Esther back in April and July, familiarity with the region did not guarantee safety. This was the beginning of the hurricane season. Anything could happen.

One Maritime historian later summed up the Esther‘s situation in these words. “{She} got out of her course and narrowly escaped destruction.” One of the Esther‘s female passengers later remembered, “Our ship, going the wrong track, was nearly lost”.

These are rather vague memories of the Esther‘s near-death experience. However, Hannah Ingraham, just eleven years old that September, provides us with the best details of what happened. “We had a bad storm in the Bay, but some Frenchman came off in a canoe and helped us (piloted us, I suppose).”

The Frenchman who Hannah remembered would have been an Acadian fisherman. After being expelled from Nova Scotia in 1755, a number of these French families made their way back to the colony. They were allowed to settle along the south shore where they established farming and fishing communities before 1776. It is interesting to note than an Acadian was one of those who had helped the survivors of the Martha‘s destruction, providing food and shelter for the shipwrecked loyalists.

It is clear that the Esther was in the same part of the ocean as the Martha had been. The accounts of passengers on both evacuation ships refer to a storm, conditions which made them lose their bearings, and receiving aid from nearby Acadians. In the Martha‘s case, the ship ran onto a shoal that held it fast while waves shattered it to pieces. Fortunately for the Esther, a man who knew the area was able to guide them away from dangerous shoals and point them toward the mouth of the St. John River. It was a near-death experience. Had it not been for the lone Acadian, the passengers of the Esther might have met the same fate as their fellow loyalists aboard the Martha.

Next week in Loyalist Trails: Learn about the make-up of the Esther‘s passengers and their first days in New Brunswick.

Loyalist Re-enactment in Royal Highland Emigrants by Brian McConnell

This article is about The 84th Regiment of Foot – Royal Highland Emigrants and joining a Loyalist Re- enactment. There is a old Chinese proverb that “A picture is worth Ten thousand words.” If the picture [in the article] could speak it might tell the story of how my wife Ann and I, who appear in it, learned about the 84th Regiment of Foot, also known as the Royal Highland Emigrants, by learning about their uniform and clothing. The journey continued from there as we both have acquired clothing and other gear. Following a meeting in early May, we look forward to attending as many of the eight scheduled events (list included) as we can. We are enjoying the experience; I hope you enjoy reading about the journey so far.

…Brian McConnell UE, Nova Scotia Branch

[Editor’s Note: Brian’s story has been added to the Military Units page and also to the Re-enactments page. Check them out if you have an interest. More contributions of information for those pages are encouraged as we all help to bring the Loyalist experience to life.]

Book Review: James Rogers’ 2nd Battalion, King’s Rangers

A Short Service History And Master Roll Of James Rogers’ 2nd Battalion, King’s Rangers, by Gavin K. Watt (Milton: Global Heritage Press, 2015). 78 pages; coil bound.

This is a modest publication in terms of size, but then again the King’s Rangers was the smallest Corps in the Northern Department during the Revolutionary War. Nevertheless this book fills a long-standing gap.

If you have Loyalist ancestors in the Quinte area, there’s a good chance you have a King’s Ranger or two as they settled in Fredericksburgh Township in 1784. Some of the best known Loyalist names that have ties to the King’s Rangers include Bell, Brisco, Dafoe, Kemp, Pringles, and of course Rogers.

The first part of the book has a highly detailed but very reader-friendly Service History of the Corps in chronological order. The Corps began as a Central Department regiment but ultimately was transferred to the Northern Department. Had that not happened the Corps would have been disbanded in the Maritimes along with their 1st Battn. Thus quite a few descendants owe their Quinte area roots to Major James Rogers’ desire to attach his Corps to the Northern Dept. during the War. Less than welcome initially, the Corps was accepted eventually and it worked out for Major Rogers.

The second portion of the book features the Master Roll covering all known who served in the King’s Rangers. Details include surnames with alternate spellings, ranks, enlistment dates, company within the regiment, service details, age, height, where from and trade and family details where known. Of course information varies from man to man.

With the focus on Adolphustown and the landing location of the Associated Loyalists, it is easy to forget that the King’s Rangers settled immediately east of there and would have had a landing spot of their own along with the 2nd Battn. King’s Royal Yorkers with whom they shared Fredericksburgh Township.

The Master Roll of the Regiment will prove very useful for descendants, and many will find an ancestor whom they didn’t realize served in the Corps. Only change I would offer is there appear to have been two John Diamonds who served, not one. One married a Loyst and the other married a Gordonier and the latter was the son of Jacob Diamond UE who also served.

It’s available through Global Genealogy. Costs are: Coilbound $25.95, Book on CD $14.95, Book as PDF download $9.95 To order, visit www.globalgenealogy.com.


The Ship Camel: A Third Voyage, by Ed Garrett

It appears that the Camel made a third voyage besides the two listed in Loyalist Ships.

The Camel sailed in August of 1783 for the Mouth of the Saint John and arrived there on September 18, 1783. After disembarking some of the passengers she then sailed back down the Bay of Fundy and disembarked the majority of the passengers 11 days later in Beaver Harbour. There were 254 passengers eighty of them Baptists the remainder Friends (Quakers) although some of the Quakers had in fact served as military loyalists.

I used the online finding guide http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C722 for the British National Archives at Kew and discovered that there is no Captain’s log in ADM 51 (Captain’s and Lieutenant’s Logs) for H.M.S. Camel a Sixth Rate (Jackass Frigate) commissioned in 1776, or a Lieutenant’s log (ADM 52 – Master’s Logs) after she was converted to an Armed Transport H.M.A.T. Camel in 1783. , Ships logs (ADM 53) don’t start until 1799.

I checked with Stephen Davidson who replied:

I have different copies of the Book of Negroes and sometimes not all of the data is in one version.

First Voyage:

On April 23 (or 27th) it left New York for the mouth of the St. John River, carrying six blacks. William Tinker captain. (I thought that this April voyage was the one undertaken by Quakers in August. The first version of the BofN that I looked at did not specify the date of departure.)

Second Voyage:

On July 10, 1783 it left New York for Quebec, carrying two slaves of the Orser family. William Tinker captain.

These are the only voyages of the Camel that are recorded in the BofN.

The third voyage of the Camel is noted in other sources (sorry, I can’t give you the primary source.) The secondary source I used was the book “Loyalists To Canada, The 1783 Settlement of Quakers And Others At Passamaquoddy” by Theodore C. Holmes. This book includes the line: After disembarking the passengers the Camel returned to New York to bring more loyalists to freedom. So this historian believed that there was [possibly] a fourth voyage. I have not been able to find any references to this outside of Holmes’ book. Holmes says that the ship was 293 tons. Tinker is given as the captain of the ship.

In addition to Holmes, Esther Clark Wright in The Loyalists of New Brunswick also states that the “Quaker Company” arrived aboard the Camel in September 1783, but neither gives a source.

Update: It turns out (even though I couldn’t find them in the locator) that there are indeed a Master’s Log and a Muster book for HMAT Camel for 1783. I have contaced a researcher who is going to take a look at them in the British National Archives in Kew. We will hopefully know more in the near future.

…Ed Garrett

Where in the World?

Where is UELAC Dominion Genealogist and Bicentennial Branch member Kathryn Lake Hogan?

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is. If you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well – send to Jennifer Childs.

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

    From the Twittersphere and Beyond

    • The Hessian Jägerkorps in New York and Pennsylvania, 1776-1777. Hessen-Kassel, a state in Germany, provided the British with fifteen regiments of infantry, each with five companies of men, four grenadier battalions and two companies of Jäger (known as chasseurs or sharpshooters in English). The Jäger in particular were in high demand. Jäger, a German word that translates to “hunter” and can be used as both a singular and plural word, were recruited from huntsmen and foresters who were skilled in the use of rifled weapons normally used to hunt boar. Published by the Journal of the American Revolution
    • Haudenosaunee Country in Mohawk The Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk people) are the Keepers of the Eastern Door of the Haudenosaunee — The People of the Longhouse. Settlers call them the Iroquois. The six nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy are the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), Oneniote’á:ka (Oneida), Ononta’kehá:ka (Onondaga), Kahoniokwenhá:ka (Cayuga), Tsonontowane’á:ka (Seneca), and Thatihskarò:roks (Tuscarora). One will notice that there is no Tsi tekaristì:seron (Where the tracks are dragged) — or borders — on this map. Haudenosaunee land spans the border between so-called Canada and the so-called United States, and did so before the tracks were dragged by colonists. The list of toponyms contains the Kanien’kéha place name, it’s translation, and the English place name – for example: Aterón:to (It’s tree in the water/It’s a dug-out canoe), or Tkarón:to (Tree in the water there) — Toronto, ON
    • Fraunces Tavern Museum is proud to announce the exhibition opening of Lafayette on May 22, 2015, running until December 2016. The exhibition will complement the docking of the Marquis de Lafayette’s replica ship, L’Hermione at South Street Seaport occurring on July 4th weekend. Twenty Lafayette related historic objects, several which have never been exhibited, will be available for view in the Museum’s Loeb Gallery.
    • Progress on this 1770s pink Polonaise gown, and why we don’t see many recreated today. I think back then one must have had lots of patience, or lots of money to try other people’s patience.
    • Recreating for production and sale the ladies’ dress shoe of the 1770’s, drawing upon resources such as Colonial Williamsburg and maintaining the proper style while adding in some more modern features for comfort and safety

    Additions to the Loyalist Directory

    As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

    • Condon, Thomas Sr.
    • Cowperthwaite, Hugh
    • Fitchett, James
    • Pitman, Russell

    Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact loyalist.trails@uelac.org for instructions and guidance.


    Adopted Children and Loyalists

    I am interested in any examples of adopted children of Loyalists receiving land grants? I have been looking into Andrew Heron, who in his petition for land, stated that Philip Gregory of Fifteen Mile Creek, Louth Twp. was his adopted father. His petition seems to have been successful. But I’ve never come across other examples.

    Surely given the number of Revolutionary widows and orphans there must be other examples.

    Would the title U.E. have also passed down to adopted children and their descendants? [The answer to this part is “No” – but if a birth parent of the adopted child was a Loyalist or of Loyalist descent for more recent examples, the the child could be UE through their own blood line.]

    John C. Haynes, UE, Col Butler Branch

    James Flewelling and Family

    I found the article James Flewelling, Gang Member with Claudius Smith: Loyalist Cowboy of the Ramapos in the Loyalist Trails archive.

    I am conducting some research on loyalists in Newburgh NY right now and am interested in what sources were used in putting together Flewelling’s life. I did find the referenced article in the NY newspaper. I would like to uncover more details such as his birthdate, his occupation, that he lived in Balmville, his family, his military service etc.

    I found a little bit on his brothers but not much on him. This seems like an interesting loyalist family where there is much more to discover.

    Thanks in advance for any help or direction.

    Kieran O’Keefe